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National Newsbits for April 1, 2014

Beware, Today Is April Fools Day

The first day of April is commonly observed as April Fools Day, a day for practical jokes, harmless pranks, and humor. Similar to Ninos Inocentes, which is observed on the Feast of the Holy Innocents on Dec. 28, the observance of April Fools Day, however, is not as popular in the country as it is in England, Scotland, the US, and France. Generally observed “for fun and not meant to offend or harm any individual,” the exact origin of April Fools’ is unknown but the common belief is that it came about during the reformation of the calendar when Charles IX changed it into the Gregorian calendar in 1582 which affected the date of the New Year, moving it to Jan. 1 instead of April 1. Prior to that, New Year was celebrated for eight days from March 25 to April 1. Word about the change spread very slowly. According to stories, there were some who ignored the change or merely forgot because of confusion over the date.(Christina I. Hermoso)

Iriberri Gets Third Star

Two months after his appointment as Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Maj. Gen. Hernando DCA Iriberri received his third star rank as Lieutenant General during a simple ceremony Monday at Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin pinned the rank on the Army chief’s shoulders. Following the ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, Iriberri was accorded arrival honors attended by officers, enlisted personnel and civilian employees of the Philippine Army at Fort Bonifacio. A member of PMA “Matikas” Class of 1983, Iriberri was designated as Army Chief on February 7, 2014. In his assumption speech, he reminded the soldiers of their “duty to defend and the responsibility to deliver.” Upon taking the helm of the Army, Iriberri emphasized that he will sustain the campaign for peace and development through the continuous implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan. (Elena L. Aben)

Customs Checking On Yee Connection

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is looking into the alleged arms trafficking involving California Senator Leland Yee and his contacts in the Philippines for bringing the firearms in the U.S. “We are checking on it. We are building up information on how it is going,” Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Alejandro Estomo said yesterday. The BOC’s Intelligence Group, headed by Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa, could have been contacted by other concerned agencies to share vital information on the gun smuggling, he said. “I believe other (government) agencies that have something to do with this is contacting General Dellosa. He is our contact to the outside,” Estomo said. The illegal trafficking of firearms from the Philippines came to light following the recent arrest of Yee who has reported links with unnamed military captain and separatist groups. (Raymund F. Antonio)

Diesel Discounts For PUVs Sought

A militant labor group is now calling for the approval of P6 fuel discount for public utility jeeps (PUJ) to finally put an end on the threat of a fare hike from some transport groups. Pagkakaisa ng Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (Piston) earlier issued the proposal to reduce the impact of recent round oil price increase to PUJ drivers. In a statement, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chairperson Elmer Labog supported the scheme, which will address the concerns of drivers without reducing the income of workers.“If approved, this will help ease the economic burden being borne by our jeepney drivers without increasing the economic burden borne by the riding public,” he added. Labog criticized ACTO and 1UTAK for threatening to implement its additional 50 centavos fare hike without government approval. (Samuel P. Medenilla)